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What Brian used to say..


And a Happy New Year to you! I had a fun and quiet celebration at Dave Hazen's house in Champaign, IL. We rang in 2003 with some good beer and Conan O'Brien, followed up by, wait for it, a Catholic Catechism board game called Divinity. A little bizarre, but all being happy Catholics, it was also pretty fun. Especially after a couple beers. :) More than a bit weird.

The drive back to KC was happily far less exciting this time. The roads were clear, but unfortunately, my new route is not very well covered by cellular towers, so my conversation with Kathleen was cut a good deal shorter than I would have liked. I managed to entertain myself with a bunch of cheesy pop music and even some good music. Life ain't so bad.

Nothing much planned for the weekend. John suggested a pub crawl, which could be fun. That should just about exhaust my fun money for this paycheck, but ah well.

Got some new inspiration about my cell automata program. I originally wrote it so that it outputs in plain old text, like a Windows DOS box or an X11 xterm. I figured I could have it output to XPM files (example), which is a plain text image format. So I had it generate the background currently on the page. I like the look. Lemme know what you think, whoever you are.

Anticipating my next drive to the airport..


Finally breaking in the digital camera. I put up some not terribly interesting pictures of home. Pictures->Various Uncategorizables->More snow. Enjoy. Hopefully I'll get plenty of interesting pics out of this digital camera. For now, a pretty uneventful start.

Not much happening. Going home this weekend for my Grandmother's 80th birthday. Good family times with my mom's side, which is always fun. Maybe I can be gratuitous with the new camera? Maybe I'm gonna think about the applicability of my camera in all activities from now on? Hmm..

<Promised_Link>ImageMagick Download</Promised_Link>: Scroll down to the Windows download. Good luck.


The trip to Peoria was fun. Busted out the digi a little bit on the way. Pictures->Various Uncategorizables->Quick trip to Peoria. Among the pictures are a series of shots of the cemetery at the old mental hospital in Bartonville, right near where my Grandma's party was. I liked a few of those, so there ya go.

This week will surely be entirely too long. Any amount of time is too long when your girlfriend is coming into town soon. Kathleen's visit should be a blast if it goes even half as well as my itinerary indicates. :) I'm sure it'll be fun. I tend to enjoy myself around her. :)

Other than that, not too much else. That's plenty, frankly. Life is good.


WARNING: update with content coming.. Yesterday was a very sad day indeed. My favorite lawyer in the world (a good guy, check his blog) Lawrence Lessig was arguing for the overturn of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act before the US Supreme Court. Quite unfortunately, the court's decision was 7-2 in favor of the constitutionality of the law. The act extended current and future copyrights by 20 years, and this decision basically says it's okay to keep extending that copyright forever, basically meaning that nothing created since around 1920 will ever become public domain. Copyright was extended many times in the 20th century, usually right before Mickey Mouse would enter the public domain. The framers of the constitution intended copyright as a means to encourage and reward creative work, but also to benefit the general public by eventually and within a fairly short time releasing that creativity to the public, which was a mere 17 years at first. The natural thing is that these ideas are not owned, but we have this system because the long-term goods balance out the short term bads. Now there are no long term goods, except for Disney. Here's more about the case. And Slashdot's take on the ruling. Maybe someday we can sing "Happy Birthday" in public without being legally obligated to pay royalties.

Just because something is constitutional doesn't mean it's not evil.


Quick update! There is now real incontrovertible evidence that Kathleen and I have, in fact, been in the same room together (unless she's better at Photoshop than some of her coworkers think..). See her holiday 2002 page for details. Brian out.


My infrequent updates are made all the more infrequent when I almost don't touch my computer for a weekend. Kathleen's visit afforded me more constructive use of my time. We hit the Nelson (or the Atkins, or the Nelson-Atkins, as the case may be) on Sunday after mass, which was a good time. Speaking of mass, Kathleen got to see everyone in the church sitting down right at the start of communion. It's rampant in this city, I guess. Can we kneel for a little while people? Anyway.. We watched lots of movies (including The Two Towers), and checked out the plaza a few times. Drove around looking for the restaurant I had made reservations at, but the road sorta disappeared and we found another place instead, with Mexican-style spring rolls. Mmmm. Almost as good as Oregon, I think. Update: A couple of pics here.

All in all, a fantastic weekend. I'm still reeling from it, now on the verge of the next weekend. Dunno when I'll see her next, but not too long, hopefully. My next planned voyages from KC are skiing with the family in February, and St. Patrick's Day in Chicago.

As for this weekend, I hear John and the Geeks are planning a trip to our favorite local brewery for free, delicious beer. It should be fun. Until next time, I'll see you in CyberSpace!


A quick note to mention a little addition to the site. A few weeks ago I sent a link out to a few folks with an article that had been in my home town newspaper, The Peoria Journal Star, interviewing my dad. I heard, though, that the article is not still up on their site. So, I found it in google's cache and cleaned up the formatting a bit and posted it under my Ramblings section. It's a nice bit about tax reform, but more interesting than it sounds. The idea is simple. As it is, property is taxed such that the more valuable the structure, the higher the tax rate. If you improve your building, you pay higher taxes. Sort of discourages property improvement.. So land may sit undeveloped because to build on it in hopes that someone moves in would cost a bunch in taxes with no return until someone buys. Why not just tax based on the value of the land? That way you can improve out the ying-yang with no tax penalty. We'd like to encourage that, right? If you don't want to improve some land, then you're better off selling it to someone who will. An improved building is more profitable for the owner, and better for the surrounding community, so why don't we encourage this. Henry George thought so. And so does my dad. Enjoy.


I made a big financial step today. I willfully and of my own volition put myself in a considerable amount of debt. What do I get in return? A brand new state-of-the-art hand assembled-with-love computer, charged to my first ever credit card. Don't worry, the plan is only to use it for major purchases, as in mostly never. Let's hope that turns out.. Anyway, here's the scoop on the new computer

It's all on its way. The shipping was incredibly cheap at $10.00 for the case and $4.50 for everything else combined for 2 day UPS. So hopefully I'll be putting this baby together next week. It should be gobs of fun. :)

Little else going on. John ships off to Ireland next weekend, so he's excited. Looks like I'll have to entertain myself. Or maybe my new computer will handle the job.. Woohoo!

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